Stephen Bannon

Trump Encourages Bannon to Go After Incumbents

Wall Street Journal: “The president also has urged voters to oust lawmakers who don’t support his tax overhaul plan this year; he phoned his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to offer encouragement after Mr. Bannon appeared on Fox News on Monday vowing to unseat sitting Republicans who don’t actively support the president’s agenda, said two people familiar with the call.”

Bannon Becomes Democrats’ Favorite Bogeyman

McClatchy: “White House staffers are not usually the focus of campaign attacks. But in federal and state races, Democrats across the country have turned this ex-presidential aide — like George W. Bush’s Rove before him — into the avatar of everything wrong and extreme about the GOP, relishing the chance to tie Bannon to Republican candidates.”

“It’s a messaging tactic that has intensified in the last two weeks, as Bannon, the ex-White House chief strategist, ramps up his involvement on behalf of anti-establishment candidates in GOP primaries across the country — giving Democrats a new opportunity to highlight growing GOP disunity.”

Bannon’s Target List

CNN: “Looking at the voting histories of Bannon’s targets, some things stand out for sitting Republican senators to consider: It doesn’t seem to matter much how conservative you were before Trump came to office if you are not fully pro-Trump today. And it doesn’t seem to matter how aligned your voting record is with Trump today if Bannon sees an opportunity to bring in someone who can be a louder, more consistent Trump advocate.”

“Every Republican senator up for re-election in 2018, with the exception of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, appears to be a target. Bannon also said he plans to back primary challengers in several other races where he thinks a crop of new Republican candidates can pick up seats for the GOP.”

Inside Bannon’s Plan for a GOP Civil War

Stephen Bannon is building a nationwide coalition that — in the words of a former Trump White House official — could “wreak havoc” across the map “if Bannon is even halfways successful,” Axios reports.

“Some of Bannon’s candidates for Republican primaries have privately pledged they’ll oppose Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It’s becoming a de facto litmus test in Bannon’s recruitment.”

“Bannon vows to support primary challengers against every incumbent Republican senator running for re-election in 2018 — with the sole exception of Ted Cruz. So that could mean seven Bannon GOP challengers, and he has as many as eight Democratic senators in his sights. Bannon is also exploring gubernatorial and House races.”

As Bannon told Sean Hannity: “Nobody’s safe. We’re coming after all of them.”

GOP Worries Bannon Is Putting Senate Majority at Risk

“Republicans on Capitol Hill fear that Stephen Bannon’s plan to wage primary challenges against incumbent senators will put their majority at risk in 2018,” The Hill reports.

“Senate GOP aides warn that Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, is not motivated by a desire to advance President Trump’s agenda, but instead by a quest to remake the GOP in his own, nationalist image.”

Said one Senate aide: “If anyone misunderstands what Steve Bannon’s goal is, they have to open their eyes. He doesn’t care if we win or lose the Senate. He doesn’t care about the consequences for the president.”

Bannon Privately Slammed Pence Pick

“Steve Bannon privately slammed the selection of Mike Pence as Donald Trump’s running mate a month before taking over the Trump campaign,” according to emails obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“The email exchange during Bannon’s first stint as executive chairman of Breitbart is of new relevance as Bannon — two months removed from his role as President Trump’s chief strategist — rolls out his plan for a wide-ranging attack against establishment Republicans in 2018. And it reveals that Bannon regarded the Pence pick as something of a deal with the devil necessary to bolster Trump’s standing in the GOP.”

What Steve Bannon Was Thinking One Year Ago

From Devil’s Bargain by Joshua Green:

Privately, even Bannon had moments of doubt. In the depths of Trump’s worst scandal, after the Washington Post broke news of an Access Hollywood tape that captured his lewd comments about women and how he liked to “grab them by the pussy,” Bannon admitted to an associate that Trump might be done for. Yet he wasn’t despondent, not did he seem to view the possibility as a fatal setback to the broader movement. “Our back up strategy,” he said of Clinton, “is to fuck her up so bad she can’t govern.” Psyching himself up to the task, he added, “My goal is that by November eighth, when you hear her name, you’re going to throw up.”

Are Those My Words Coming Out of Bannon’s Mouth?

Thomas Frank: “There’s was a moment in Steve Bannon’s recent 60 Minutes interview when the former presidential advisor was asked what he’s done to drain ‘the swamp,’ the Trumpists’ favorite metaphor for everything they hate about Washington DC. Here was Bannon’s reply: ‘The swamp is 50 years in the making. Let’s talk about the swamp. The swamp is a business model. It’s a successful business model. It’s a donor, consultant, K Street lobbyist, politician … 7 of the 9 wealthiest counties in America ring Washington, DC.'”

“With a shock of recognition I knew immediately what Bannon meant, because what he was talking about was the subject matter of my 2008 book, The Wrecking Crew – the interconnected eco-system of corruption that makes Washington, DC so rich.”

“My critique of Washington was distinctly from the left, and it astonished me to hear something very close to my argument coming from the mouth of one of the nation’s most prominent conservatives. But in fact, Bannon has a long history of reaching out to the left – you might say, of swiping its populist language and hijacking its causes.”

Documents Prove Bannon Courted Alt-Right

An explosive cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News proves that Stephen Bannon sought to make Breitbart a platform for white nationalists, despite his comments last month that “there’s no room in American society” for neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, and the KKK.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart courted the alt-right — the insurgent, racist right-wing movement that helped sweep Donald Trump to power. The former White House chief strategist famously remarked that he wanted Breitbart to be ‘the platform for the alt-right.'”

Bannon Backs Grimm’s Comeback Bid

Former congressman and convicted felon Michael Grimm (R-NY) returned to Washington in a bid to win support for his comeback congressional bid, Politico reports.

“Among the people whose support Grimm has secured is former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. A person close to Bannon said the two met for about 30 minutes, and that the former White House aide had decided to back Grimm.”

Bannon’s Back and Targeting China

Joshua Green: “Bannon, who’s been consulting with Henry Kissinger and other foreign policy veterans, is preparing a project to sound an alarm about what he views as the primary economic threat to America: China.”

Said Bannon: “If we don’t get our situation sorted with China, we’ll be destroyed economically. The forced technology transfer of American innovation to China is the single biggest economic and business issue of our time. Until we sort that out, they will continue to appropriate our innovation to their own system and leave us as a colony—our Jamestown to their Great Britain, a tributary state.”

In case you missed it: We recently spoke with Green on Political Wire Conversations about his excellent book about Bannon.

Bannon Sought To Infiltrate Facebook Hiring

Steve Bannon “plotted to plant a mole inside Facebook,” according to emails sent days before he took over Donald Trump’s president campaign which were obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“The email exchange with a conservative Washington operative reveals the importance that the giant tech platform — now reeling from its role in the 2016 election — held for one of the campaign’s central figures. And it also shows the lengths to which the brawling new American right is willing to go to keep tabs on and gain leverage over the Silicon Valley giants they used to help elect Trump — but whose executives they also see as part of the globalist enemy.”

Bannon Will Headline Rally for Roy Moore

Stephen Bannon is heading to Alabama to rally for Roy Moore (R) on Monday night with Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty,” according to Axios.

“Why it matters: This rally is three days after President Trump, Bannon’s former boss, was in Alabama rallying for Moore’s opponent — Mitch McConnell’s favored candidate Luther Strange. For Bannon to make a rare public appearance in such close proximity to Trump shows how invested he is in this race specifically, and attacking McConnell more generally.”